Marian announces $12 million campaign

A $12 million capital campaign not only targets building renovations at Marian High School, but also tuition assistance and faculty salaries at the all-girls school in Omaha.

The enhancements will "affect every girl every day for the next 60 years," said Karen Hotz, vice president for advancement.

Half of the "Confident to be Marian Capital Campaign" funds would go toward building updates, and the rest to an endowment fund for student aid and faculty pay, Hotz said.

A silent phase of the campaign that began in November has raised more than $4.4 million from long-time benefactors and others, said Susan Rosenlof, director of marketing and communications. Campaign materials will be mailed soon to school families and Marian’s 9,300 alumni, Hotz said, and organizers will begin a push to the wider Omaha community.

Keeping tuition affordable is a key part of the campaign.

"We like to say that any girl who wants to attend Marian can," Hotz said.

Forty-five percent of Marian’s 700 students receive aid, and the campaign would contribute $4 million to an endowment to help increase that assistance, she said.

And $2 million would go toward recruiting and retaining experienced, talented educators, Hotz said. "We want to remain competitive."

Building improvements expected to begin in spring 2018 would include an addition to the school’s north side to display the school name, logo and a cross, emphasizing its use as the main entrance and reducing confusion about which of the school’s many doors visitors should use, Rosenlof said.

The single entryway for visitors also would help keep students safe, school officials said. And a new lobby inside the main entrance would serve as a gathering place for students, teachers and visitors.

The plans call for an academic center, or "new-fashioned library," also on the school’s north side, that would give students and teachers an open, modern, college-like place to study and collaborate, with large windows, comfortable seating and technological support, Hotz said.

"This is really the wave of the future," she said.

On a floor above the academic area, in a space currently used as a study hall, a new chapel would be built to accommodate up to 70 people. It would include windows, some stained-glass, allowing in natural light and looking out to open fields to the north, Rosenlof said.

Decades-old hallways and classrooms also would get new paint, flooring and lighting. And if the campaign exceeds its $12 million goal, the school would overhaul "a vintage 1966" cafeteria and kitchen at a cost of about $1.5 million, Rosenlof and Hotz said.

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